Golf Channel

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Template:Use mdy dates Template:Infobox TV channel Golf Channel (originally "The Golf Channel" from 1995 to 2007)[1] is an American cable and satellite television network owned by the NBC Sports Group division of NBCUniversal. The channel focuses on coverage of the sport of golf, including live coverage of tournaments, as well as factual and instructional programming . Founded in Birmingham, Alabama,[2] the channel's headquarters and studios are currently located in Orlando, Florida. Golf Channel is available in the United States, Canada and a few nations in Asia and Latin America through cable, satellite and wireless transmissions.

As of February 2015, Golf Channel is available to approximately 79,250,000 pay television households (68.1% of households with television) in the United States.[3]

History and programming

File:Golf Channel old logo.png
Former logo, from 2011 until May 2014;
Comcast Peacock logo added in 2011.
The "G" was originally shieldless.[4]

The network was launched in 1995, with a ceremonial flip of the switch by co-founder Arnold Palmer on January 17.[5][6][7] The idea of a 24-hour golf network came from media entrepreneur Joseph E. Gibbs of Birmingham, Alabama,[8] who first thought of such a concept in 1991.[9] Gibbs felt there was enough interest in golf among the public to support such a network, and commissioned a Gallup Poll to see if his instincts were correct. With the support of the polling behind him, Gibbs and legendary golfer Palmer then secured $80 million in financing to launch the network, which was among the first cable networks developed to cover one singular sport. Announced in February 1993,[10][11][12] the launch date was targeted for May 1994;[2] it went on the air in early 1995. The first live tournament the channel televised was the Dubai Desert Classic, held January 19–22. Originally a premium channel on cable with limited subscribers,[13] it retooled in September 1995 to be part of basic cable to reach more viewers and ratings rapidly increased.[14] Co-founder Gibbs stepped down at the end of 2001.[9]

Golf Channel features a range of golf programming, including PGA Tour, European Tour, LPGA Tour, Champions Tour and Web.com Tour events. PGA Tour tournament purses grew from $ 1-3 million in 1994 to $5–8 million in 2005.

The channel devotes considerable time to news coverage of golf, including a nightly program, Golf Central. There are highlight shows of past tournaments, and a reality television competition show, The Big Break, whose premise is to help aspiring professionals gain exemptions into PGA Tour and LPGA events. In 2005, Golf Channel helped set up a special match play event called Big Stakes Golf, in which teams of two paid a $100,000 entry fee to play in a special tournament where the winning team split a $3,000,000 first-place prize, the largest in golf history. In the end, mini-tour professionals Garth Mulroy and David Ping won the grand prize.

In December 2006, it was announced that Golf Channel had acquired cable television rights to the PGA Tour as part of a new 15-year contract. The contract included early-round coverage of all official money events, as well as full rights to early-season and Fall Series events.[15]

In March 2008, Comcast acquired the online golf reservation platform GolfNow. It was re-located to Golf Channel's headquarters in Orlando.[16][17]

In January 2011, Comcast acquired a 51% majority stake in NBC Universal from General Electric. As a result of the re-alignment of Comcast's existing properties into NBC Universal, control of Golf Channel and sister sports network Versus was transferred to a restructured NBC Sports division. On-air synergies between NBC's existing production unit began to take effect in February 2011 at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, when golf telecasts on NBC took on Golf Channel's production and branding as "Golf Channel on NBC", in a similar manner to ESPN's co-branding of sports output on ABC. NBC Sports personalities could now appear on Golf Channel, and former NBC Sports senior vice president Mike McCarley took over as the network's new head. The network also adopted an amended logo featuring the NBC peacock.[18][19]

In December 2013, Golf Channel unveiled a new logo, implemented in May 2014 to coincide with the 2014 Players Championship. The new logo replaces the "swinging G" emblem that had been used since the network's launch with a wordmark alongside the NBC peacock.[20]

On June 8, 2015, it was announced that NBC Sports had acquired rights to The Open Championship beginning in 2016 (originally 2017) under a 12-year deal. Early round coverage will be aired by Golf Channel, which will mark the first time ever that Golf Channel has ever broadcast one of the four Men's major golf championships.[21] On May 3, 2016, NBC announced that Golf Channel would air the bulk of the men's and women's golf tourneys for the 2016 Summer Olympics, covering up to 300 hours of the tourney, with 130 of those hours live.[22]

High definition

Golf Channel began broadcasting in the default 1080i high definition format in 2007. The format is available on all major cable and satellite providers.

In January 2007, Comcast originally launched Versus/Golf HD, a 1080i high definition channel featuring programming from both Golf Channel and sister network Versus. Golf Channel programming was broadcast during the daytime hours, and Versus programming was broadcast during the evening and primetime hours. The shared channel was replaced by the current individual HD feeds for both networks in December 2008.[23]

Programs

Tour coverage

News and analysis

Factual and reality

Instruction

  • Golf Channel Academy
  • PGA Tour Champions Learning Center
  • Golf Fitness Academy
  • Playing Lessons
  • School Of Golf
  • The Golf Fix

On-air staff

Template:Main

Viewership

For the month of October 2013, Golf Channel averaged a daily viewership of 84,000.[24]

International version

Golf Channel UK

A British version of the channel called Golf Channel UK was operated by sporting goods retailer JJB Sports, and was available on the BSkyB satellite service. It broadcast many of the programs seen on the U.S. channel, but was unable to attract a viable audience as it offered few live golf tournaments; the channel shut down on December 31, 2007. All the major tours have most of their main broadcasting contracts in UK with Sky Sports. Setanta Golf also held rights before its closure and BBC Sport also covers major tournaments each year.

Golf Channel Latin America

The Latin American version of the Golf Channel was launched in 2006, as a joint venture between DirecTV and Paraguayan businessman Carlos Ávila.[25] The channel broadcasts professional tournaments from the PGA Tour, PGA Tour Latinoamérica and European Tour with Spanish-speaking journalists, as well as Golf Central and other English-language shows.

References

Template:Reflist

External links

Template:NBC Universal Global Networks Template:NBC Universal Template:NBC Sports

Template:Sports television in the United States Template:Golf on television

Template:Sports television in Canada
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  7. Winfrey, Lee. "Golf Channel tees off Tuesday, joining History Channel as new cable fare", Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, January 16, 1995. Retrieved February 28, 2011 from HighBeam Research.
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  24. http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2013/10/30/nbcsn-golf-channel-sunday-night-football-lead-major-october-surge-for-nbc-sports-group-viewership/212620/
  25. Fanáticos del golf contarán un canal dedicado sólo a este deporte - El Mercurio, October 12, 2006 (in Spanish)


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